As a Turnaround Takes Hold, CIT
Rededicates Itself to Equipment Finance
A Conversation With Vincent A. Belcastro, Group Head, CIT Capital Equipment Finance
BY HOWARD BROD BROWNSTEIN, CTP, PRESIDENT, THE BROWNSTEIN CORP.
The severe economic downturn of recent years has seen many equipment lenders leave the business or
sharply curtail their activities, and CIT was no different, downsizing its Diversified Industries Group in
2007. Central to CIT’s recovery strategy is the appointment of a senior CIT veteran, Belcastro, well-known
both inside CIT, as well as throughout the asset-based finance industry, as a knowledgeable and
VINCENT A. BELCASTRO
Managing ;Director, ;Group ;Head, ;
CIT Capital Equipment Finance
With CIT’s recent appointment of Vincent A. Belcastro as managing director and group head of its Capital Equipment Finance
group, CIT signals a strategic rededication to providing
financing for middle-market companies with equipment
finance needs. The severe economic downturn of recent
years has seen many equipment lenders leave the business or sharply curtail their activities, and CIT was no
different, downsizing its Diversified Industries Group,
headquartered in Tempe, AZ during 2007. As part of
CIT’s tremendous turnaround and recovery, CIT has
re-entered a number of strategic markets in which it
formerly was well-known, including equipment finance.
Central to this strategy is the appointment of a senior
CIT veteran, Belcastro, to head CIT Capital Equipment
Finance, headquartered in New York City. Belcastro
is well-known both inside CIT, as well as throughout
the asset-based finance industry, as a knowledgeable
and experienced professional who exemplifies the
strong “credit culture” for which CIT has been known
for decades. ABF ; Journal contributing editor Howard
Brownstein interviewed Belcastro about this important
move and his plans for equipment lending.
“During the downturn … one of the easier things to do was for companies to reduce their capital projects and spending… However,
as companies continue to come through the economic recovery,
they are once again focusing on capital projects and replacing aged
equipment and transportation fleets.”
HO WARD BROD BROWNS TEIN: Vince, congratulations
on your new responsibilities at CIT. You’ve been a senior
credit officer at CIT for several years — what’s it like
running a business with a P&L bottom line to meet?
VINCENT BELCASTRO: It is an exciting time to be
building a business in which CIT has been a leader
for many years. It is clear the market has received us
well, and we will continue to build the brand. It is also
a great time to be at CIT and to watch the execution
of the growth plans we have embarked upon. I think
moving on to running a business unit was the next
natural progression for me, and a return to creating
new business that I am thoroughly enjoying.
HBB: Tell us about the team that CIT and you have
assembled to build the equipment finance business.
VB: We are off to a great start. We recently hired a
director of Underwriting, have promoted from within to
fill an additional underwriting spot, and are continuing
to build out the underwriting team. We also expect two
very talented new business professionals to join us in
the Northeast and Southeast in February. The expansion plans will continue into 2012 with new business
positions in the Midwest and West Coast.
HBB: How does equipment finance differ from CIT’s core
ABL and factoring businesses?
VB: I think the main difference is that it is a hybrid
between our cash-flow lending businesses and ABL.
We finance all types of asset classes for a wide array
of businesses and industries. I would say equipment
lending tends to be more of a cash-flow term loan
driven business, with the added support of specific
collateral. In addition, we tend to be equipment